Monday, January 27, 2020

The Theme Of Alienation Loneliness And Selfhood English Literature Essay

The Theme Of Alienation Loneliness And Selfhood English Literature Essay In Krapps last tape, Krapp systematically distanced himself from companionship and love of other people. When Krapp was twenty nine years old, he lived with a woman named Bianca, whose love he later described as a hopeless business despite the fact that she truly loved him and possessed very warm eyes that always seemed to impress him (Beckett 54). After the death of his mother when Krapp was only thirty nine, he felt that life had lost meaning. This is evident from the words he said to his new love that it was hopeless and there was nothing positive about life. He rejected his lover and completely lived alone from this time onwards, although he was sometimes visited by Fanny, who was a bony old ghost of whore (Beckett 98). At the age of sixty nine, Krapp was only accompanied by his loneliness during his birthday celebration, whereby he spent the day in a pub deeply occupied by heavy thoughts of his past life and his lost chance for love and fulfilled life (Beckett 67). Krapps last tape is a compact statement of a mans predicament as a prisoner of time. He preserved the worst for himself and threw the best away by rejecting love of others. At the age of sixty nine, the only thing he could do was to play a tape he made when he was thirty nine, reminding him of the last love that he rejected when he still had potential for happiness in life (Beckett 89). Krapp was a lonely man, whose isolation was self inflicted. He viewed women as bad influence and valued his career as a writer more than any human companionship or relationship. He confessed that he could not withstand the thought of his future career as a writer being interfered with by women and love (Beckett 89). Krapp chose a tape recorder to be his sole companionship. He seemed to find comfort in recorded voice, which he faithfully listened to, even in old age. However, although Krapp lived like he did not need anyones company, he seems to have been inwardly desperate to have someone to engage in a conversation. He eventually discovered that he had made a terrible mistake by forsaking the rest of humanity (Beckett 130). Loneliness, selfishness and selfhood are clearly illustrated throughout Krapps character and way of life. He never found satisfaction in life even after selfishly living a lonely life that he had chosen to live and he realized that the selfhood that he had discovered had truly misled him. He realized that he needed other people and the rest of the world in order to be fulfilled but it was already too late. In Kate Chopins story of an hour, Mrs. Mallard went through feelings of relief as soon as she received the bad news of her husbands death, which was said to have occurred in a train accident. Although at first she was sorrowful and confused by the news of her husbands death, she was suddenly relieved by the thought of being free from marriage and slavery of love. She knew that no amount of love and security could pay the lack of control over her own existence (Chopins 194). Mrs. Mallard seemed to have been controlled by society, pretending to be happy and fulfilled in her marriage. As molded by the society, she appeared to be a perfect wife, who enjoyed companionship of her husband and loved being a wife. She suppressed her true selfhood and sacrificed her delight to please the society, pretending to be happily married. As expressed in her reaction and sigh of relief when she heard the news of her husbands death, it is quite evident that she had always inwardly struggled with her marriage to Mr. Bently Mallard, that was dominated by male chauvinism. Feminism shown through freedom upon her husbands death explains her happiness and relief to be alone, free from bondage of marriage and love (Chopin 193). Her own feelings of freedom came back possessing her when she first uttered the words free, free! In this story, Mrs. Mallard is described as a woman who had forgotten and abandoned herself throughout the entire period of marriage to her husband. The husband is described as being happy with the marriage, despite the fact that Mrs. Mallard was not happy and inwardly viewed the marriage as slavery. Her emotions had been stiffled and and suppressed to fit into hollow social conventions of the society. She was the submissive woman, who believed that her husband had a right to impose his will on her (Jamil 216). However, she suddenly gained control over herself after discovering that she had been set free from bondage of marriage and slavery of love by the death of her husband. She embraced visions of a bright future and realized that whether she had loved him or not was not important anymore, all what was important to her now was the possession of self assertion that she experienced afte r his death. (Choppin 193, 194). This was the nineteenth century American womans hour of awakening into selfhood, which gives her immesurable joy and beauty of life. (Jamil 215). Her happiness after discovery of her selfhood was so strong that when she realized that her husband was not dead, she immediately collapsed. She could not imagine how she was going to abandon her new found freedom and return to life with her husband, where she would be required to bend her will to his. Mrs. Mallard preferred to live alone, without her husband because that meant freedom to her just like Mr. Krapp chose to live alone and viewed women and love as a hopeless business. To him, they would interfere with his freedom of pursuing his writing career, while to Mrs. Mallard, the presence of her husband was a permanent bondage to slavery that had taken away her freedom and selfhood. The story of a sorrowful woman by Gail Godwin depicts a wife and a mother who gradually withdrew from her family after becoming overwhelmed by her husbands and childs presence and completely shut them out of her life. Their presence was a daily reminder of the fact that she had lost her freedom as well as her self- identity and her life would never be the same again (Godwin 78). She wanted her freedom and her self -identity back. She wanted to stay away from her husband, her child and the rest of the community and live a lonely life because to her that would be more fulfilling, just like Mr. Krapp. She viewed marriage as a source of pain, that had taken away her identity, her selfhood and her freedom. She further wanted to stay away from the society that advocated for marriage and therefore decided to live a lonely life. However, what she considered as freedom and selfhood did not give her the fulfillment that she had longed to have. Her dissatisfaction with her role as a mother and a dutiful wife made her to try many other alternatives in life but she did not find satisfaction in any of the options that she tried out. She did not find any particular role that could suit her and therefore she ended up withdrawing from the rest of the world. This is illustrated by the coldness and isolation of the undecorated white room that she moved into. She even pictured herself as a virgin in a tower, untouchable and profoundly isolated (Goldwin 117). This shows that she had not only isolated herself physically from her family and the rest of the world but also emotionally thus making herself an outsider looking in on the world. She viewed her family as source of bondage, slavery and dissatisfaction in life. However, isolating herself from the rest of the society did not give her any satisfaction like she had expected. She only ended up being a lonely woman, both physically and emotionally. The theme of alienation, selfhood and loneliness cut across the three stories discussed. The three main characters in the stories viewed family as a source of bondage, limitations and dissatisfaction in life. It is portrayed as a form of slavery that would tie women and men to their families and take away their freedom as well as their selfhood. These stories portray traditional marriages whereby women are supposed to be submissive to their husbands and be good home makers as unfulfilling and undermining to women. The women discussed here are seemingly tired of living under bondage and slavery of their husbands and the entire society and are looking for liberation and freedom. They want to rediscover themselves and find more fulfilling roles that define them and give them a voice as useful members of the society. They can no longer stand the idea of being dominated by society as well as by their husbands as clearly observed when Mrs. Mallard collapsed on discovering the truth that he r husband was truly alive and not dead as it had been reported. On the other hand freedom in these stories is categorically accompanied by loneliness and lack of fulfillment as portrayed by Krapp and Godwin. The woman in Godwins story did not find any satisfaction in her loneliness after abandoning her family and the society at large. Her freedom brought more emotional and physical dissatisfaction as she tried to rediscover herself and even to assign her new roles, which only tormented her mental and emotionally, causing even more pain to her life. After spending all his life alone with the tape recorder as his sole companion, Krapp finally came to his senses and realized that he had actually ruined his own life because he was lonely and desperate for companion. He realized that listening to the tape recorder alone could not give him the delight and the fulfillment that he had longed to have in his entire life. However, it was already too late as he was already an old man.

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